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Do the atmosphere and the mood at the park justify the title of the story "Dusk"?

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centoo | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 4, 2012 at 4:56 PM via web

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Do the atmosphere and the mood at the park justify the title of the story "Dusk"?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 5, 2012 at 5:50 AM (Answer #1)

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Twilight, or dusk, is that moment in which day and night are suspended. Caught between two realms, dusk is the time of illusion when things may not seem what they are. And, it is this "gloaming hour" that suits Norman Gortsby who counts himself among the "defeated." He finds that dusk verily befits his inner mood as he sits on the park bench where an older gentleman sits with a "drooping air of defiance" in his possible defeated life, too. Yet, they are shrouded in their melancholy and the world can yet be deceived.  At the same time, dusk is the opportune time for another type of deception, that of the young man who appears exasperated because he has left his hotel for soap without remembering where he is staying because it differs from his originally intended hotel.  He tells Gortsby his tale of woe and then remarks,

"Unless I can find some decent chap to swallow my story and lend me some money I seem likely to spend the night on the Embankment. I'm glad, anyhow, that you don't think the story outrageously improbable."

The cynical Norman Gortsby points out the flaws in the young man's actions and words:he is not in the possession of any bar of soap. Angrily, the young man retorts that he must have lost his soap and departs. Gortsby muses, 

"...the going out to get one's own soap was the one convincing touch in the whole story, and yet it was just that little detail that brought him to grief."

Because of the dusk, Gortsby has not recognized the bar of soap beneath his seat. Hurriedly, he catches up to the young man and apologizes.

The important witness to the genuineness of your story has turned up," said Gortsby, holding out the cake of soap;"it must have slid out of your overcoat pocket when you sat down on the seat."

The youth tells Gortsby it is lucky that he has found the soap, hurrying away.  When Gortsby returns to his bench, he finds the elderly gentleman searching and asks him what he seeks. The gentleman tells hims that he has lost his soap.

Certainly, the pall of dusk disguises the motives of the young man and the truth of the elderly gentleman as well as placing Gortsby appropriately in the world of gloom where he has "failed in a more subtle ambition.”

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